Councils voice concerns over planning shake up

Council leaders have warned government plans to shake up the planning system could side line the public consultation process and lead to poorer quality homes.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday (2 August), the housing secretary Robert Jenrick said ministers want new developments to be granted automatic planning permission if they are to be built on land designated as ‘for renewal’.

The government is expected to publish more details on its plans to reform the planning process later this week.

But the chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), Cllr Cllr James Jamieson said the planning system needs to be ‘locally-led’.

‘Any suggestion that planning is a barrier to housebuilding is a myth,’ said Cllr Jamieson.

‘Nine in 10 planning applications are approved by councils, while more than a million homes given planning permission in the last decade have not yet been built.

‘We all want great communities,’ he added.

‘The planning system needs to be able to ensure developments are of a high standard, are built in the right places, include affordable homes and are supported by infrastructure that provides enough schools, promotes greener and more active travel, and tackles climate change.

‘The government’s own independent report warned of the worse quality of homes not delivered through the planning system. We urge the government to heed these warnings and not further side-line the planning process.’

While the District Councils’ Network lead member for stronger economies, Cllr Mark Crane, said: ‘Getting the country building desperately-needed homes again will be a vital part of the national recovery from coronavirus, and district councils stand shovel-ready to deliver.

‘But we cannot compromise on the quality of new homes and places and side-line public consultation, which we fear will be the consequence of the government’s planning reforms.

‘District councils and their local communities continue to grant nine in 10 planning permissions, while tens of thousands of homes with planning permission remain unbuilt – the housing delivery system is broken, not the planning system.’

Photo Credit – Borevina (Pixabay)

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